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Superhero Motivation for Kids

Difficulty: Casual | Frequency: Variable | Duration: Variable
Superhero Motivation for Kids

Why You Should Try It

As parents, we want to encourage our children to develop the skills that will support their success. Perseverance is key to becoming someone whom others can count on—someone who is reliable even when the tasks they have to do are boring or hard.

Teaching our children perseverance will not only impact how reliable they become in cleaning up their toys, but may also support their overall academic success. Research shows that students who are better able to resist temptations and practice self-discipline perform better in school. 

Time Required

Depending on how creative you want to get, this practice can take as little as five or 10 minutes.

How to Do It

It’s hard for children to stick with boring or difficult tasks. The following strategy is a fun way to teach your children perseverance, so you and others can count on them to follow through.

Evidence It That Works

White, R. E., Prager, E. O., Schaefer, C., Kross, E., Duckworth, A. L., & Carlson, C. R. (2017). The “Batman effect”: Improving perseverance in young children. Child Development, 88(5), 1563-1571. 

Children were asked to complete a boring task for 10 minutes, but they had the option to take breaks to play a fun video game. Children who were given directions to embody and speak to themselves as a favorite character, like Batman or Dora the Explorer, spent more time working on the task compared to other children.

Why It Works

Role playing allows children to distance themselves from a situation by taking an outsider’s perspective. This self-distancing tactic allows children to stop focusing on their own negative emotions and their desire to do something more interesting. By removing these distractions, role playing can help children focus on the end goal of completing the task. 

The props and use of play may also lead to greater perseverance because it makes the experience more fun and gives children the opportunity to identify with the strengths of their chosen character.


Rachel E. White, Ph.D., Hamilton College 
Ozlem Ayduk, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley